London Log-In - August 7, 2012
UCLA athletes, coaches, alumni and staff share their experiences at the 2012 Olympics. UCLA Associate AD Mike Sondheimer takes readers inside the NBC Control Room for a look at what goes into the broadcast of indoor volleyball.
Aug. 7, 2012
The NBC 'war room' for the Indoor Olympic Volleyball is composed of four trailers, as opposed to one big television truck for events on American soil. The trailers (the Olympic Committee has the TV truck) are divided into the actual producing of the NBC broadcasts you see at home. A second one is a video-tape truck to mix in various shots of Earl's Court, surrounding London and any replays from previous action. A third trailer has all of the technical equipment and the venue manager. Our fourth trailer has computers, internet access, commentator info system to check backgrounds on any Olympic Sport and a television with the BBC feed of the Olympics.
Every person on the NBC crew is on call for every match even though we don't show all of them. We have to be available for a story like Donald Suxho's amazing foot dig, or Lindsey Berg having a leg injury, or something controversial with an official to not miss something of news importance. Also, we sometimes add to the broadcasts a NBC sideline reporter like Michele Tafoya, who is assigned for the post-match interview. There has to then be communication from the TV production area to the floor so she can go on TV when needed on the time schedule.
The producer and producer-director man the operation and are in constant contact with NBC in New York to set up commercial breaks. They have to know how much of our event will be shown since not all are live or the full volleyball match. We have been on live most of the time, but when we are on tape the producer has to time out segments to meet the time requirements allocated on the NBC delayed TV primetime broadcasts. It may mean picking the best elements of the last two sets of the match to show. It is not easy to do this, but our producer Jack Graham and our producer-director Jeremy Olson have handled it very well leading into the playoffs.
With the tournament into the 'knockout round,' we do research on all of the former matches the teams have played in the last two years or in the past Olympic Games so the viewer at home can have that statisical information. The production trailer looks for highlight packages to show around the match and sets up what to watch for. It is a constant team effort with a lot more going into the basic broadcast than the average viewer at home really understands. NBC has to manage not only showing all of the sports, but balancing American coverage with other major events at the Olympic Games. During the first week, the schedule could change at any time based on the results of the day before.
Hopefully the USA keeps doing well so more of our events are shown live and in full. Remember, it takes a whole production team to put on one event and make it go smooth.
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